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Name: People v. Urbano
Case #: F044381
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 5 DCA
Opinion Date: 04/11/2005

The court did not err in admitting at trial evidence of a defendant's gesture and comment to his attorney during his preliminary hearing, because the communications were not protected by the attorney-client privilege. In each challenged instance the defendant's voice had been loud enough for spectators to overhear. Noting the limited scope of review and the fact that the trial court had excluded other communications that it had deemed to have been legitimate attorney-client communications, the appellate court found no error. The court next considered several Blakely issues, after first determining that the issues were reviewable absent…

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Name: Kowalski v. Tesmer
Case #: 03-407
Court: US Supreme Court
District USSup
Opinion Date: 12/13/2004
Subsequent History: Cross-cites: 125 S.Ct. 564; 160 L.Ed.2d 519

Attorneys lack third-party standing to assert the rights of indigent defendants who have been denied appointed appellate counsel. A Michigan state law precludes the appointment of counsel in most appeals following guilty pleas. Two attorneys and several indigent defendants filed suit in federal court challenging the law, but a lower court found that the claims of the indigent defendants were barred by the abstention doctrine. The United States Supreme Court held that the attorneys lacked standing to bring the challenge in federal court, because a hypothetical future attorney-client relationship was not a sufficiently close relationship to allow…

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Name: United States v. Hamilton
Case #: 03-50179
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 12/13/2004

Questioning an officer at a suppression hearing when neither defendant nor his counsel is present requires reversal of the conviction. In a case involving multiple defendants, counsel for one defendant was absent during the conclusion of a suppression hearing due to a scheduling conflict. She indicated that she had been under the impression that the remainder of the hearing would consist only of redirect testimony related to one of the other defendants, but in fact about half of the testimony taken in her absence related to her client. Noting that a defendant need not show prejudice when…

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Name: People v. Wheelock
Case #: A096854
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 04/06/2004
Subsequent History: Rev. den. 6/30/04

The issuance of an arrest warrant and extradition proceedings against the defendant did not trigger his right to counsel. The defendant moved to suppress statements he made to law enforcement officials in Utah after he was arrested and held pending extradition to California. He argued that questioning outside the presence of an attorney violated his Sixth Amendment right to counsel, a right that he argued was triggered by the issuance of a California arrest warrant, or in the alternative by the commencement of extradition proceedings. The court rejected both arguments, holding that neither proceeding was sufficient to…

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Name: Fellers v. United States
Case #: 20-Feb
Court: US Supreme Court
District USSup
Opinion Date: 01/26/2004
Subsequent History: cross cites: 124 S. Ct. 1019; 157 L. Ed. 2d 1016

Where officers deliberately elicited information from a suspect after he had been indicted, the information required suppression under the Sixth Amendment right to counsel, and subsequent statements should have been suppressed as the fruit of the first unlawfully elicited statements. In this case officers went to talk to Fellers following his indictment in order to discuss his involvement in the offenses with which he was charged. During the discussion he made several inculpatory statements. After spending about fifteen minutes with Fellers, the officers transported him to the county jail, where they advised him for the first time…

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Name: People v. Smith
Case #: C036886
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 12/12/2001
Subsequent History: Reh. granted 1/2/02. Appeal dismissed 2/1/02.

The trial court correctly relied on the representation of appellant’s public defender that it was in appellant’s best interest to waive a jury trial on the issue of appellant’s competence to stand trial. In an ordinary case, such as this, the trial court should not appoint special counsel to represent a defendant’s "wishes" concerning whether to have a jury trial on the issue of…

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Name: People v. Dang
Case #: B145393
District 2 DCA
Division: 4
Opinion Date: 11/26/2001
Subsequent History: Rev. denied 3/13/02.

A defendant’s former defense attorney testified that defendant told him that he was going to try to bribe witnesses, and if he was unsuccessful, he would "whack" them . The appellate court held that this testimony was permissible under Evidence Code section 956.5, which provides there is no privilege if the attorney believes disclosure is necessary to prevent the client from committing a criminal act that the lawyer believes is likely to result in death or substantial bodily…

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Name: Pawlyk v. Wood
Case #: 98-35026
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 01/19/2001
Subsequent History: Rehg den.

Appellant's due process rights were not violated when the state of Washington compelled disclosure to the prosecution and the jury of the evaluation of a psychiatrist who was not called as a witness by the defense. Appellant was examined by two psychiatrists at state expense in preparation of the insanity defense for his trial on murder charges. Only one psychiatrist, the one who had concluded appellant was having a psychotic episode and did not know right from wrong, was ultimately called as a witness. After appellant's sanity was placed in issue, the court allowed the testimony of…

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